The world’s most sustainable residential tower, The Beacon, has been introduced by pioneering developer Lumiere Developments.
Alongside its sustainable features, The Beacon also offers residents an unmatched living experience, providing world-class amenities and services that create a community and lifestyle not currently in existence elsewhere in the local property market.
Each turnkey ‘ready to move in’ apartment is accessed from the central atrium via scenic glass lifts overlooking the arboretum. Impressive 2.4m high apartment front doors open onto elegant wood-floored hallways and open-plan living areas featuring ceramic tiled floors and walls. Living spaces open on to private balconies through full height patio doors and windows to create a light infused living environment whilst bathrooms are European-inspired**.
Kitchens come fully fitted with German manufactured fittings from Hacker, with a full suite of integrated energy efficient A+++ rated appliances. Other interior features include smart-controlled thermostats, comfort cooling systems and automated blinds whilst premium Skyline apartments on the 13th floor feature impressive terraces with winter gardens, hot tubs* and electro-glass for added privacy.
The ground floor will be the main hub for residents featuring the internal arboretum alongside a café and bar area, water features, club lounge and cinema room and external patio space. On the first floor will be a 2,120 sq. ft. gymnasium, fitted with the latest fitness equipment, whilst a communal roof sky garden will provide an outdoor residents ‘library’ decked area and observatory at the top of the building.
Home owners will also benefit from an in-house electric car and electric bike share scheme (the first of its kind at a residential development in the UK), 24-hour security and concierge service, as well as on-site waste compaction and recycling facilities.
Purchasers with cars will have access to the UK’s largest automated underground car parking system, providing 319 secure spaces and operated and managed by Swiss-funded Skyline Parking – Skyline Automated Parking Systems are European leaders in Performance and Reliability. Cutting CO2 emissions by 80% compared to a standard car park, the automated system uses mechanical technology to reduce the average parking time by 50% and car insurance by up to 20%.
As a result of The Beacon’s groundbreaking renewable technologies, buyers will benefit from annual savings of up to £11,000 per year. The building’s energy-generating and water retention capabilities mean household bills will be vastly reduced, whilst typical monthly costs such as gym membership, contents and building insurance are all covered and heavily discounted, within the annual management fee (approx. £1,580 per annum for a typical apartment). Lumiere Developments is also contributing towards purchasers’ conveyancing and valuation fees, as well as moving costs for pre-launch sales.
The Beacon is the result of a number of years of extremely hard work by everyone at Lumiere and our partners in the design and planning, to deliver the world’s most sustainable residential tower.
Ambi Singh, Commercial Director of Lumiere Developments, comments:
“The Beacon is the result of a number of years of extremely hard work by everyone at Lumiere and our partners in the design and planning, to deliver the world’s most sustainable residential tower. Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do and we wanted to marry emission free renewable technologies with simple yet effective energy conservation strategies to create a zero emission development that is truly world class in its architectural design, engineering and specification.
“We want residents to feel like they are part of a community and to truly enjoy their living environment. At the same time we want apartments to be as cost effective as possible whilst ensuring a positive environmental impact on their locality.
“Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of the world’s harmful emissions and the World Health Organisation quotes air pollution as the number one risk to human health responsible for 7 million premature deaths worldwide. Hence, it is our mission to promote large-scale uptake of emission-free renewable energy generation and simple energy conservation technologies within residential new-builds and old stock to significantly reduce emissions and by default help save lives. Using The Beacon as a blueprint for zero-carbon residential development, we will be rolling out this unique mixture of sustainable technology and building practice across our future projects and ultimately hope that we inspire other developers to build significantly more high-quality sustainable homes across the property spectrum from affordable to luxury.”
Set to complete in 2018, The Beacon will contribute to the regeneration of Hemel Hempstead, which is currently undergoing a major transformation following the council’s £30m investment. Additional private inward investment into the Town Centre and Maylands Business Park Regeneration area has also been prolific in recent years. Future plans include regeneration of the main line train station and surrounding area to create a new residential-led mixed-use scheme, delivering over 1000 new homes, entertainment complex comprising new cinema, restaurants, supermarket and public parking area, as well as a potential Crossrail 2 station.
The Beacon enjoys exceptional transport links and is within walking distance of Hemel Hempstead train station, which links residents to Euston (Victoria and Northern line) in 24 minutes. There is also direct access to the A414, leading to M1 and M25 for Central London and Heathrow Airport.
Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?
Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?
But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?
The Big Picture
The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.
That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.
One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.
As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.
Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.
Make and Model of Car
Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.
On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.
The Bottom Line
Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?
Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.
Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family
When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?
What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?
As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.
Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.
5 Good Options
As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:
1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country
Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.
3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.
5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel
If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?
Putting it All Together
You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.
You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
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